- 1 Purpose
- 2 Scope
- 3 Procedure Overview
- 4 Procedures
- 4.1 User-first Design Approach
- 4.2 Analytics
- 4.3 Web Responsive
- 4.4 Mobile Responsive
- 4.5 Search and Information management
- 4.6 Accessibility, Usability and Inclusive Design
- 4.7 Digital visual identity
- 4.8 Authentication, Single Sign On (SSO) and personalisation
- 4.9 Privacy
- 5 References
- 6 Schedules
- 7 Procedure Information
To establish a process to facilitate an intuitive, seamless and satisfying User Experience across all University online systems and implement the User Experience principles outlined in the Enterprise Architecture Policy.
This procedure applies to all Employees, Research Workers and University Members when:
- planning projects that have the capacity to impact the University online experience;
- contributing content for University online systems;
- selecting, designing, developing, implementing and maintaining University online systems.
3 Procedure Overview
This procedure outlines the User Experience implementation process. It establishes standards of quality and consistency in system interface design with an emphasis on User needs, ease of task completion and productivity. It also promotes consideration of the holistic User Experience across interfaces as Users move between systems to complete a task.
4.1 User-first Design Approach
A User-first Design Approach must be adopted to ensure system design is based on an explicit understanding of Users, their tasks and the environments in which they are using systems.
This iterative system design and development process is driven and refined by User-centred evaluation, and addresses the whole User Experience.
Figure 1: User-first Design Approach
The User-first Design Approach (refer Figure 1 above) comprises the following phases:
- Specify context of use
Identify the Users of the system, what they will use it for and under what conditions it will be used.
- Specify requirements
Identify any Business Requirements and/or User goals that must be met for the system to be successful.
The following must be considered when planning a significant upgrade, replacing or redesigning a system:
a. Evaluate existing systems against User Requirements before duplicating or replacing them;
b. Consider feedback regarding existing systems to contribute towards providing the best solution;
c. Conduct a thorough evaluation of the desired User Experience versus actual User Experience.
When developing Business Requirements, consideration should be given to:
a. the User Experience standards described in the following sections;
b. the University Strategic Plan, and other relevant plans; and
c. system dependencies.
Business requirements can begin as a phrase or one-sentence description of what the system must have or must allow Users to do and will become more detailed as the process progresses.
Identify, analyse and understand User Requirements and expectations by undertaking one or more of the following:
a. User Research methods, such as developing Personas and describing scenarios;
b. Surveys, User feedback and consulting with the target audience;
c. User feedback;
d. User requirement assessment to ensure they are in keeping with current market expectations;
e. Existing content performance analysis to identify content priorities and any potential navigation issues;
f. System data assessment to determine what devices are being used and from where
g. Benchmarking activities for competitor and best practice analysis.
- Produce design solutions
This part of the process may be completed iteratively progressing from a rough concept to a complete design with User consultation at each stage.
Prototyping may be a cost effective and timesaving method to explore ideas, show the intention behind a feature or the overall design concept and gather feedback from Users while still planning and designing the system.
- Evaluate design
Evaluate the design through Usability testing with representative Users to identify any Usability problems. Collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine the User's satisfaction with the proposed system.
Usability testing must be used to determine:
a. if participants are able to complete specified tasks successfully
b. the timeframe required for Users to complete specified tasks
c. the level of User satisfaction with the system
d. what changes are required to improve User performance and satisfaction
e. whether the system meets Usability objectives.
More than one Usability test should be planned with clear testing goals and the results implemented to ensure a well-designed system. Consider these elements when budgeting for Usability testing:
a. Time - for test preparation, running tests, analysing the data, writing the report, and presenting the findings;
b. Recruiting Costs of participants - allow for staff time to recruit or engage a recruiting firm to schedule participants based on the requirements;
c. Participant Compensation - for their time and/or travel;
d. Rental Costs - for monitoring or recording equipment and/or the location for testing;
e. External agency or Usability specialist to conduct the tests.
Further Information is available in Standard ISO 9241-210:2010 which is the basis for User-first methodology.
4.1.1 Existing User feedback
Sources of existing User feedback should be investigated and considered before carrying out new User Research. Survey results, other (internal University, higher education sector or other relevant external) projects, research conducted and social media platforms may offer valuable insight to inform the design phase.
Results and/or Information about past, planned and existing Student surveys and focus groups as well as Student feedback received may be sought from:
- Student Experience Coordinator, Student Services Portfolio
- Manager (Strategic Information and Analysis), Corporate Management Services
- Executive Director (Marketing and Student Attraction)
- Student Services and Amenities Fee Projects
- Ethics and Research Integrity Team
- Senior Executive Officer to the Manager (Strategic Information and Analysis).
Results and/or Information about past, planned and existing Staff and Research Worker surveys, focus group feedback and projects may be sought via:
- Senior Project Coordinator (ICT Investment Portfolio), Information and Communication Technology Services
- Project Management Community of Practice
- Project Management Framework
- Manager (Strategic Information and Analysis), Corporate Management Services
- Senior Executive Officer to the Manager (Strategic Information and Analysis)
- Ethics and Research Integrity Team.
4.1.2 Contacting Users
The following areas may be contacted for assistance in locating Student Users for Usability testing:
- Phoenix Central works with members of the Student Representative Committee (SRC) and Students participating in the Phoenix Award who may be interested in participating in Usability testing.
- Student Ambassadors may be willing to provide input and participate in Usability testing.
- Student Experience Coordinator, Student Services Portfolio.
For permission and assistance to contact Academic Division Employees, contact the Faculty Executive Managers.
For permission to contact Employees within other areas and divisions of the University, request assistance from the office of the appropriate Divisional head.
For assistance communicating with Users who are Research Workers, contact the Office of Research.
Ethics clearance may need to be obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee. Assistance is provided by the Research Integrity and Ethics team.
To provide a quality User Experience, Information System Owners should continuously improve their systems through the regular collection and analysis of data and consequent staged upgrade until the system is as efficient and effective as required to provide a satisfying User Experience. This is illustrated below in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Approach, Deployment, Results and Improvement (ADRI) Quality Cycle
A quality User Experience will be assured by focussing on the goals, plans, inputs and processes of a system as represented in the Approach and Deployment phases of the ADRI cycle (refer Figure 2 above).
Information System Owners must place emphasis on evidencing what is achieved through the Results phase. The results should measure effectiveness of the system with reference to design specifications and inform further goal development to modify the system as appropriate. As indicated in Figure 2 (above), the User Experience will be constantly improved as systems are regularly reviewed.
Information System Owners must use results, in the form of qualitative and/or quantitative data, to gain an insight into User interactions with the system. Qualitative data is gathered through User Research to understand why Users do certain things. Quantitative data is garnered through analytics which identify what actions Users take and how many Users take those actions.
Quantitative data enables the determination of baselines which can be used to inform design decisions, develop Key Performance Indicators and measure the effectiveness of the system.
Information System Owners must use Analytics and User Research to investigate, monitor and optimise the User Experience helping to:
- Identify User Experience issues;
- Guide decision making - justify projects, validate Personas, inform customer journey maps, and provide background Information for design planning;
- Determine project-specific metrics that can be measured before and after implementation to ensure satisfaction with deliverables;
- Experiment with different design and content variations; and
- Monitor systems by tracking metrics to indicate any User Experience issues.
For Information and advice on analytics software currently used by the University, please contact the Manager (Enterprise Applications).
4.3 Web Responsive
Information System Owners should take steps to ensure University systems are flexible and functional across accepted major browsers as guided by the University Standard Operating Environment (SOE).
In the event a system requires an upgrade to one or more browsers listed on the SOE, this will be coordinated via the Manager (Enterprise Applications) to ensure other systems are considered and tested as part of the browser upgrade process.
Where a system does not function properly on one or more browsers, a notification must be provided listing the recommended Browser to ensure an optimal online experience.
Similarly, where the best User Experience of a vendor-supplied system requires one particular browser, a notification to Users must also be provided.
Cross browser compatibility is an Accessibility consideration. More Information is provided in Section 4.6 below and in the current Accessibility guidelines.
4.4 Mobile Responsive
To provide an optimised online experience, Information System Owners should ensure systems and the content they deliver are mobile, Responsive to different device screen sizes and considerate of User needs.
Users expect that University systems will operate effectively on any device they are being viewed on, including but not limited to mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop.
Mobility is an Accessibility consideration with conformance to the current Mobile Web Best Practices encouraged.
ICT Services provides a range of devices which may be used to test systems to ensure they are working optimally. Data around the nature and number of devices being used to access University systems is also available to help inform decision making.
Digital artefacts used by Student-facing systems to inform, help and support Students must be Searchable and Accessible on multiple platforms and devices and available to University Employees to share, manage and maximise their use.
Digital artefacts (such as presentations, images and videos) should be stored within the University digital library, the eLearning Objects Repository (eLOR). Best practice guidelines for the delivery of online content (audio, video, presentations, documents, etc.) are available in the eLOR by searching for 'best practice'.
Research Data should be stored according to the provisions of the Research Data Management Policy and Research Data Procedure.
4.5 Search and Information management
Search excellence within and across systems is a key consideration in providing an optimal online experience. The performance of search tools significantly impacts the productivity of Users and the optimisation of the University's investment in Information.
To facilitate an improved search experience, it is recommended that Information System Owners ensure the system content is of a high quality and appropriately Searchable.
To achieve this:
- train content creators;
- regularly review system content to ensure its relevance;
- support the search function with dedicated staff;
- encourage User feedback and use it to improve search experiences;
- analyse search results, identify areas of improvement and act; and
- manage, retain or destroy content in line with Information management requirements specified in Section 4.5.2 below.
Consideration should also be given to integrating with a context driven federated search solution across the University. Information System Owners are encouraged to share Information about their system's search tools and how these are used through formal and informal networks.
For more Information, please contact Manager (Enterprise Applications).
4.5.2 Information management
The University is subject to mandatory requirements related to retention of University records, including Information, for the required minimum retention period as approved by the Queensland State Archivist. These requirements apply equally to systems hosted in the cloud and on-premises servers.
All systems collecting data must be consistent with the provisions of the Records and Information Management Policy.
Information System Owners and/or project managers responsible for the implementation of new systems must consult with the Manager (Corporate Records) prior to implementation of a new system to determine the appropriate retention period for records and/or data to be captured and stored in that system.
Information System Owners and the relevant ICT Managers responsible for the de-commissioning of a legacy system must consult with the Manager (Corporate Records) to ensure that the records and/or data captured and stored in that system is retained for the required mandatory retention period. Failure to comply with this requirement may be a breach of the Public Records Act 2002.
4.6 Accessibility, Usability and Inclusive Design
Accessibility, Usability and Inclusive Design are closely related. While Accessibility focuses on people with disabilities, many Accessibility requirements also improve Usability.
Accessibility includes both:
- Requirements that are more specific to people with disabilities - most of these requirements are technical and relate to the underlying code rather than to the visual appearance.
- Requirements that are also general Usability principles — these are included in Accessibility requirements because they can be significant barriers to people with disabilities. In defining Accessibility requirements only aspects that put a person with a disability at a disadvantage relative to a person without a disability are included.
Accessibility includes a technical aspect that is usually not a focus of Usability. In practice, basic Accessibility is a prerequisite for Usability. Usability reduces the need for system training, help and support.
Several Accessibility requirements also benefit people and situations that are a focus of Inclusive Design. For example:
- people with low literacy
- people not fluent in the language
- people with low bandwidth connections or using older technologies
- new and infrequent Users
- mobile Users.
Accessibility focuses on disability and does not try to address broader issues. Other efforts, such as the W3C Internationalisation initiative, address Inclusion issues regarding different languages, scripts and cultures.
While people with disabilities are generally included in the scope of Inclusive Design, it is important to also maintain a specific focus on people with disabilities through Accessibility so that the needs of people with disabilities are not diluted or overshadowed in the broader scope of Inclusion.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) is intended to protect all Australians and ensure that people with a disability are treated as fairly as those without a disability. It makes disability discrimination illegal in education and employment.
4.6.1 Accessibility for Students
All Student-facing Information Systems must be consistent with the provisions of the Students with a Disability Policy and Procedure. The University's Disability Resources staff will recommend adjustments for system Users and help implement the Disability Standards of Education (DSE), part of the broader DDA that aims to ensure that all Students with a disability can be educated on the same basis as other Students.
Some Students utilise assistive technologies to allow them to view content and navigate around a site using the keyboard only. Where feasible, special features should be included to enable the use of Accessibility hardware and/or software.
Assistive technology, such as screen reading and magnification software, and assistance is available from the University's Disability Resources.
4.6.2 Accessibility for Employees
All Employee- facing Information Systems must be consistent with the provisions of the Employees with a Disability Procedure. Information System Owners and/or project managers should seek more Information about Reasonable Adjustment support and assistive technology for Employees by contacting the Human Resources Workplace Relations and Diversity team.
4.6.3 Web Accessibility
All new systems should conform to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Guidelines and aim to meet level AA requirements. Where feasible, existing systems should also work towards AA compliance.
To achieve this level of compliance, Information System Owners and/or project managers should follow best-practice accessibility guidelines and use publicly available resources including, but not limited to the:
- W3C Web Accessibility Initiative;
- Global Access Project; and
- Vision Australia.
Alternatively, an external agency that specialises in Accessibility may be engaged to conduct an audit of the system and provide recommendations relating to compliance with W3C Guidelines.
Information System Owners and/or project managers should engage with Users with a disability and/or the University's Disability Resources staff and/or the Human Resources Workplace Relations and Diversity team throughout the development of a system to fully understand all User Requirements and ensure that systems meet these.
4.7 Digital visual identity
Information System Owners and/or project managers must ensure that their systems reflect the University's digital visual identity, as far as practicable, within the guidelines available as part of the Brand Toolkit and in accordance with the System Tier Schedule.
The Brand Toolkit provides direction for the online implementation of branding requirements, including font, colour, imagery, editorial writing style and logo usage. It includes a number of tools to enable systems deliver clear, consistent and compelling communications to Users of the University systems.
The Executive Director (Marketing and Student Attraction) will consider the impact on systems comprising the online experience prior to altering the University's Brand and the Public Website.
The Executive Director (Marketing and Student Attraction) will consult with other Information System Owners prior to any significant changes. As far as practicable, Information System Owners will take steps to ensure the branding of their systems remains current.
4.7.1 Use of plain English
Information System Owners and/or project managers must ensure that online content uses plain English and a consistent vocabulary that reflects Policy and Procedure and defined terms as published in the University's Definitions Dictionary and Editorial Standards of the Official Information Policy and Procedure.
In the event a vendor-supplied system is unable to be changed, consideration may need to be given to adopting these terms into policy, in accordance with the Policy and Procedure Framework.
The Brand Toolkit contains Information about the University's Communication Style which may be applicable.
4.7.2 Common elements and functionality
Consistency in design and layout across University systems must be considered to ensure Users need only learn once how to orient themselves; navigate within a University system; and interact with forms and common interfaces according to their specific needs and preferences.
Consider the system transitions a User will experience during task completion and utilise common elements and functionality to create a more seamless experience.
Using common elements enhances the Usability of individual systems by increasing familiarity and making system content more predictable. For example:
- navigation mechanisms that are repeated on multiple pages appear in the same place each time
- User interface components that are repeated across systems have the same labelling and behaviour; e.g. Ask USQ icon links to FAQs, Search, branding, University logo and logout buttons link to the University home page
- significant changes on a web page do not happen without consulting the User.
Information System Owners should integrate common functionality as far as practicable and in accordance with the System Tier Schedule.
4.7.3 Government legislation
The Brand Toolkit also contains Information about how, where and when to display TEQSA and CRICOS Provider codes.
4.7.4 System training, help and support
Adequate training must be provided during the introduction of systems and/or when Users first begin to use systems. Consideration must also be given to ongoing support and opportunities for 'just in time' training by dedicated trainers or through peer training.
Information System Owners must ensure sufficient online help resources are available to assist Users. Where possible, help should be contextual and just in time. For example, a widget with relevant FAQs on a webpage; the Help button in Student Centre links to appropriate just in time help.
Appropriate FAQ's must be created and maintained on either the Student Knowledge Base or the Staff Knowledge Base as appropriate. The exception is where systems have a small User base and/or the tasks are confidential. In this case another repository may be utilised. For example, internal business processes and FAQs for Finance Systems are stored on SharePoint.
4.7.5 Self-help systems/tools
Information System Owners and/or project managers must ensure that systems designed to provide help and support to certain cohorts of Users are complementary, cohesive, Searchable and promote User autonomy. The systems should encourage further engagement with self-help tools.
4.8 Authentication, Single Sign On (SSO) and personalisation
To provide a seamless online experience, systems must be integrated with the University's endorsed Identity Management System and Single Sign On (SSO). Exemption from the SSO integration requirement may be sought from the Executive Director (ICT Services) where user numbers, infrequent use, system limitations and/or the cost-benefit analysis makes this impracticable.
Information System Owners and/or project managers implementing a new system should contact the Manager (Information Security) for assistance with authentication and SSO Integration.
Access to view/edit data is controlled securely by User roles. Different levels of access are applied so that Users only access appropriate data. System interfaces may be personalised to suit different User roles.
Information System Owners and/or project managers requiring User data should contact the Manager (Student Systems) for Student data and/or the Manager (Payroll and Systems) for Employee data at the start of the project to ensure this integration and other project timeframes can be achieved.
A Privacy Threshold Assessment must be taken to ascertain whether the system poses a privacy risk to Users.
For example, design considerations for Users accessing their system in a shared place where Personal Information is boldly displayed and easily visible to people nearby will need to be identified and addressed.
Also, Personal Information collected by a system must be for a particular purpose with clear objectives to be determined before collection.
This procedure must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.
7 Procedure Information
Executive Director (ICT Services)
Executive Director (ICT Services)
Related forms, publications and websites
Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary
An online repository of guidelines and templates for the marketing and communication of the University by Employees, to Students and the community....moreAn online repository of guidelines and templates for the marketing and communication of the University by Employees, to Students and the community.
A person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University....moreA person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University.
Any collection of data that is processed, analysed, interpreted, organised, classified or communicated in order to serve a useful purpose, present facts or represent knowledge in any medium or form. This includes presentation in electronic (digital), print, audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual or numerical form....moreAny collection of data that is processed, analysed, interpreted, organised, classified or communicated in order to serve a useful purpose, present facts or represent knowledge in any medium or form. This includes presentation in electronic (digital), print, audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual or numerical form.
An individual or group of people who have been officially designated as accountable for specific data that is transmitted, used, and stored on a System within the University....moreAn individual or group of people who have been officially designated as accountable for specific data that is transmitted, used, and stored on a System within the University.
Is information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion....moreIs information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.
A high level strategic directive that establishes a principle based approach on a subject. Policy is operationalised through Procedures that give instructions and set out processes to implement a Policy....moreA high level strategic directive that establishes a principle based approach on a subject. Policy is operationalised through Procedures that give instructions and set out processes to implement a Policy.
An operational instruction that sets out the process to operationalise a Policy....moreAn operational instruction that sets out the process to operationalise a Policy.
Facts, observations, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Research Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Examples include, but are not limited to, laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, primary Research Data, questionnaires, audio and video recordings, photographs, films, ...moreFacts, observations, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Research Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Research Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Examples include, but are not limited to, laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, primary Research Data, questionnaires, audio and video recordings, photographs, films, test responses, and any other records that are necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of the reported results of research.
Any person/s involved in Research Activities at, or on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to Employees, Students, visiting scholars, research partners, research affiliates, holders of Honorary or Adjunct positions and research ethics committee members....moreAny person/s involved in Research Activities at, or on behalf of the University. This includes, but is not limited to Employees, Students, visiting scholars, research partners, research affiliates, holders of Honorary or Adjunct positions and research ethics committee members.
A person who: has been Admitted or Enrolled in an Academic Program at the University, but has not yet graduated from the program; or has been Enrolled in a Course at the University but has not yet completed the Course....moreA person who: has been Admitted or Enrolled in an Academic Program at the University, but has not yet graduated from the program; or has been Enrolled in a Course at the University but has not yet completed the Course.
The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.
Employees of the University whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement whether full time or fractional, continuing, fixed-term or casual, including senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University; Members of the University Council and University Committees; Visiting and adjunct academic...moreEmployees of the University whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement whether full time or fractional, continuing, fixed-term or casual, including senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University; Members of the University Council and University Committees; Visiting and adjunct academics; Volunteers who contribute to University activities or who act on behalf of the University; Individuals who are granted access to University facilities or who are engaged in providing services to the University, such as contractors and consultants, where applicable.
Definitions that relate to this procedure only
Systems designed to enable access to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines will also make content more usable to Users in general.
Defined objectives of an activity, describing the problems to be solved, the business needs to be met and/or the benefits to be yielded for the University and/or the Users.
Products designed to be usable by all Users without the need for adaptation including, but not limited to, the following issues:
The creation of a representative User based on available data and User interviews. Though the personal details of the persona may be fiction, the information used to create the Persona is not.
The ability of systems to display content across multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktops.
A website, resource or application that is capable of being computationally searched.
Single Sign On (SSO)
A property of access control of multiple related, but independent software systems that enables Users to gain access to all systems with one log in.
The ease of use and learnability of a system that allows Users to effectively and efficiently achieve specific goals.
All University Members, any person enrolled in an Academic Program at the University and any person registered to attend short courses, seminars or workshops in any organisational unit of the University as well as all other persons including members of the general public, who have been granted access to, and use of, the University's ICT Resources. A member of the public reading public University web pages from outside the University is not by virtue of that activity alone considered to be a User.
Encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the University's online systems (academic and non-academic), applications, tools, resources, artefacts and content.
User-first Design Approach
An approach to all the phases throughout a design and development lifecycle focussing on gaining a deep understanding of the system Users and their needs by involving Users throughout the iterative design and development process.
Define how a system will meet the needs and expectations of its intended Users, how the User will interact with the system and what activities they must be able to perform.
Research focusing on understanding User behaviours, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.